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The benefits of walking
Last updated: Friday, August 28, 2015

Walking is a painless and effective way of getting good daily exercise.

It has a host of proven health benefits such as improving your circulation, strengthening your bones, easing stress and anxiety, and, if done regularly and at a high enough intensity, it can help shed unwanted kilograms.

How to walk right

To maximise the benefits you get from walking, make sure your technique is up to scratch:

* Keep your head up and focus ahead,

* Ensure your back is straight, but relaxed,

* "Zip up" your abdominals and squeeze in your gluteal (butt) muscles,

* Keep your chest out, and your shoulders back, down and relaxed,

* Let your arms swing naturally from the shoulders,

* Pay attention to your foot strike action: after you land on the outer side of your heel, your foot rolls inwards, which is essential for adequate shock absorption. The final phase is a push off with your toes,

* Beware of pounding your heels down when walking briskly; this generates unnecessary forces on your joints,

* Dorsiflex your foot (bend the top part of your foot back) adequately, rather than just shuffling along,

* Stride length is important, and most walkers take steps of the kind of length that promotes their walking efficiency, and

* Breathe rhythmically. For instance, inhale for three steps and exhale for the next three, or at a rate that feels right.

Walking rules

Do:

* Make your walks a priority and a regular feature in your life.

* Join a scientifically-based walking group that meets regularly.

* Convince a friend to join you.

* Buy a good pair of walking shoes.

* Set yourself one or two goals a month, and reward yourself when you achieve these goals - goal-setting and positive reinforcement are strongly linked to success and sustainability.

* Monitor your progress and keep track of the d ... Read more



 

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